This is it?
Congressman Joe Wilson
Last month, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) testified that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will likely attempt terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. This echoes recent threats ISIL has made against American families in recruitment videos and online messages. Sadly, despite these threats, the President has failed to take ISIL seriously.
In 2014, days after major battlefield victories, the President dismissed ISIL as the “JV team.” One day before the terror attack in Paris, the President described ISIL as “contained.” Mere hours before the mass murder in San Bernardino, the President stated ISIL posed “no existential threat” to American families. Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, who led the DIA until 2014, called the President’s policy in the Middle East one of “willful ignorance.”
Shockingly, it took an act of Congress to compel the President to submit a plan for defeating ISIL and violent extremism in the Middle East. Even with this law, the President’s pitiful response was over a month past the February deadline.
I have grave concerns with the President’s plan—if it can even be called that. At a mere seven pages, one thing is certain—this is not a serious plan to defeat ISIL.
This is not a real plan because it does not directly reference radical Islam or jihad once. We cannot overlook that some Islamist extremists use religion to recruit and to justify their murderous actions. We cannot defeat ISIL without combating every aspect of their recruitment strategy-that includes radical Islam, which has subverted the beliefs of the vast majority of Muslims.
This is not a real plan because it only outlines what Coalition forces have done to degrade and defeat ISIL. Past actions will only yield past results, and ISIL will continue to grow across the region. We cannot allow their brutality to continue.
This is not a real plan because it is limited in scope. The plan discusses Coalition efforts in Iraq and Syria, but not across the rest of the Middle East, where ISIL’s influence is spreading. While ISIL is most prevalent in Iraq and Syria, we cannot ignore the fact they are recruiting, training, and growing across the Middle East.
Sadly, it is clear this plan does not provide a path to defeat ISIL and other religious extremists in the Middle East. While I have the highest confidence in our service members and military leaders, they deserve a clear and realistic mission. A seven page plan is not sufficient.
Each time I speak on the House floor, I remind my colleagues that we are in a Global War on Terrorism, where by our actions we must always remember the 9/11 attacks. We must defeat our enemy not only on the battlefield, but also in the hearts and minds of potential recruits. We cannot do this with more of the same and a seven page plan. I urge the President to take the threat from ISIL seriously now and in the future. The safety of American families is at stake.
This opinion piece first appeared on Independent Journal Review.